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Residents Alerted to Obamas' Hawaiian Holiday Plans

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - KAILUA, OAHU - Residents living near the beachfront homes where President Barack Obama and First Family vacation with their friends every year since 2008 were alerted on Monday to some specifics of the Obamas' holiday vacation plans.

The report delivered to residents living along the ocean and canal that surrounds the multi-million dollar homes at Kailuana Place where the President stays, informed  them of restrictions that will be implemented for 20 days beginning December 17 and running through January 6.

In a matter of weeks, Kailua residents will see the familiar street barricades fronted by U.S. Secret Service agents and Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in canal and ocean waters.

The President, who spent some of his childhood years in Hawaii, brings his wife, two daughters, Sasha and Malia, with dog Bo in tow, each holiday season. They settle into the small town community known for its spectacular sparkling beaches, warm turquoise ocean, rolling surf, country shops and restaurants and friendly people.

The homes where they stay are just a two-minute drive from Kaneohe Bay and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where the Obamas and friends can access private white sand beaches and military workout facilities.

Kailua Beach

While many residents welcome the First Family, others are disheartened by the restrictions put on air, water and road travel while the President and family are in town, especially because it is the holiday season and many families on vacation want to use their boats or surf and paddle in the welcoming ocean waves fronting the Kailua homes. In addition, the President's caravan of at least 22 vehicles including an ambulance can easily overwhelm the community that typically has single lane streets.

Adding to the controversy surrounding the President's visit is the cost of the trip.

With the staff, special forces, local police presence and equipment, the President's visit adds up annually to at least a $4 million vacation courtesy of the Hawaii and federal taxpayers.

While the President and his friends pay for their own rental homes, taxpayers pick up the cost of security and waterfront housing for the Secret Service, Navy Seals and Coast Guard as well as staff accommodations at a plush beachfront Waikiki hotel.

TRAVEL: $3,629,622

The biggest expense is President Barack Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One.

A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2012 said the plane typically used by the President, a Boeing 747, costs $179,750 per hour to operate. The U.S. Air Force has listed the cost of travel as high as $181,757 per flight hour.

Travel time for Air Force One direct from Washington D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours or as high as $1,635,813 each way for a total of $3,271,622 for the round trip to Hawaii and back.

The cost for USAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the Presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii has never been disclosed in the years the President has traveled to Hawaii. However, the flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is at about 21.5 hours roundtrip, with estimated operating cost of $12,000 per hour. (Source: GAO report, updated by C-17 crew member). The United States Marine Corps provides a presidential helicopter, along with pilots and support crews for the test flights, which travel on another C-17 flightThat is $258,000, not including costs for the 4 to 6 member crew's per diem and hotel.

Moana Surfrider Resort

The rentals are fronted by the ocean and backed by a canal. So, the taxpayers must cover the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes around where the President stays.

Last year, that added up to about $200 per bedroom per day, or $21,600 per average home for a nearly three week period, with special forces renting at least 7 homes. Security arrives ahead of the President costing taxpayers about $176,400 for the length of the visit.

The President’s staff and White House Press Corps typically stay at one of Hawaii’s oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider. Besides its stunningly beautiful view of Waikiki, and its traditional Hawaiian architecture and decor, it is one of the most pricey hotels in the state and government rates are not available during the holiday season. Rooms  start at around $270 but can cost as much as $370 a night for an ocean view before Christmas, and climb much higher around the new year.

A conservative estimate with rooms at $270 (excluding a 9.25 percent Transient Accommodation Tax and a 4.712 percent General Excise Tax on each bill, meals, internet charges and other charges) means the taxpayers are covering more than $129,600 in hotel bills for some two dozen staff.


Local police are paid over time for the President’s visit, which has historically cost Oahu taxpayers $250,000.

The city ambulance the accompanies the President 24 hours a day through his entire visit is about $10,000 to city taxpayers.


There are several costs the White House annually refuses to release, citing security.

    • For example, the President’s security usually rents an entire floor of an office building in Kailua on the canal during the president’s stay.
    • There are security upgrades and additional phone lines to several private homes where Obama and friends are staying. That includes bullet proof glass installed, home security systems disabled, new security measures put into place and additional phone lines added.
    • There is the cost for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at a Waikiki Hotel.
    • And there are additional travel costs Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President.

The total cost (based on what is known) for a 20-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is more than $4 million.

Hawaii Reporter annually has requested details on the cost of the President’s trip, but the White House will not release any figures, citing security concerns. A spokesperson has maintained the costs are "in line" with other presidential vacations.

Hawaii Reporter has sought to determine the cost of vacations for the current president and last two presidents but the Government Accountability Office referred Hawaii Reporter back to the White House spokesperson.

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Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=215828

822 Comments for “Residents Alerted to Obamas' Hawaiian Holiday Plans”

  1. I don't mind the cost of the Security, Special Forces people, etc, What I mind is that they have to provide security for this pile of bull crap that thinks he was elected Emperor in Chief. Since times are so difficult for most of the country why can't the "Bull Crap Royal Family " just stay in Washington for Christmas or better yet, go back to Chicago and STAY THERE PERMANENTLY!

  2. I have been preaching it for years to all those that I meet. TERM LIMITS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nothing will change as long as the same FOOLS remain in place.

  3. Liberals, communists are insane! Anyone who think's this is the norm, regardless of whether it's a president or not, has got to be insane - you are not thinking rationally. So many millions of Americans are out of work and/or on some sort of government hand-out and you think this is normal and OK behavior from our president? He demands that we sacrifice, pay our share and be fair, and accept whatever he wants to give us, redistribute our money, bows to Saudi kings, chatizes America/Americans to the entire world, makes complete fools of us to the world, invests our money in failures over and over (paying his buddies with our money) claiming it will stimulate the economy and doesn't, the list goes on and on --- they are completely insane! Where's his fair share, sacrifice for the common good, redistribution of his money for the common good? Oh wait, Obama/Dems don't have to do it do they? You completely exempt them for God only knows the reason. You are claiming he's your God and savior! Insane! Read Fallen Angels Among Us & Saint Germain on Alchemy for Transformation, Summit University Press.

  4. What's the problem, all you folks re-elected him. Live with it, assholes.

  5. It might be a nice gesture for the Obama royal family (dog included) could share part of that $4 million price tag for their luxurious Hawaii vacation with some of the people still suffering from Sandy's effects. Some of them are in his highly favored "middle class" -- maybe he could direct that the vacation money be given only to that class. But it goes beyond shameful to disgusting for the Obamas to use $4 million taxpayer dollars for a coupleof weeks on the beach.

  6. The one thing no one is talking about is that while he is with his family all the rest of the people assigned to him will be without theirs over Christmas. Leadership

  7. Isn't it interesting that "granma" has been left off, even these items of cost, and you KNOW she is not going to be spending Christmas in Washington, now don't we?


  9. Would anyone just let me have the cost of Chritmas Holidays for all or any of the previous Presidents, Did any of them ever take some down time? or is the man with the most stressful responsibility not entitled to the most necessary holiday between two terms? How is he to cope for another four years without a break? Does the guy sweeping floors at the hotel ever have a break from his stressful occupation? Obviously all the paraphenilia is required, We are talking about the "President" of the United States of America are we not?.......When was your last vacation? What did that cost? What do you do for a living? and how much responsibility do you bear? I am not even AMerican just an observer from the International Community........You guys make me laugh.

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